The Three Journeys: The Escape – The Ensoulment – The Spiritualization
The Three Journeys: The Escape – The Ensoulment – The Spiritualization

Aviv Shahar and Kyriaki Nikandrou

September 24, 2022
Current Openings No. 3

A location note: This is part two of an article that builds on the insights explored in The Ensoulment Journey conversation between Aviv Shahar and Jeff Vander Clute that took place in early March 2022. Aviv describes working through The Three Journeys with a global community at an event that took place just as the Russian invasion of Ukraine was getting underway. The beginning of their conversation addresses the challenges of entering deep transformational and spiritual inquiries under the influence of a kinetic war. Aviv sought to answer this challenge during the event and invited the community to facilitate together the space-making effort. Jeff and Aviv have been holding Portals conversations for several years to follow the emerging journey work of the Epoch Culmination community endeavor.

A Bridge from the introductory Part 1 to The Three Journeys

In part 1 we describe the historic context shaping the experience of the seeker in the quest to find esoteric truth and meaning and respond to the calling to bring to life the higher and noble promise of being alive. Key premises we sought to establish include:

  • The Journey towards a source took many forms along the human story. In a postmodern world the genuine seeker faces new challenges as the current environment lures us even more to shortcuts, near-term gratifications, and spiritual bypass.
  • The industrial and technological revolutions, free market economies, and a forced growth paradigm enabled a profit-making extractive capacity and ethos that are burning up in frantic speed the natural resources of the Earth. Now this extractive ethos has moved to mining our personal, psychological, and behavioral data. The human is deemed and normalized to be “a consumer” instead of the creative, life giving, generative being the human can be. This backdrop blurs the seeker’s vision today.
  • A parallel challenge is that we live and breathe in a paradigm that prioritizes and celebrates the ultra-success myth, where a new celebri-tocracy has replaced the old aristocracy, and on which we project our power, our hopes, and what we love and despise.
  • The seeker’s quest for meaning and purpose carries the potential for human life to discover its own intrinsic noble nature, realizing that it is not “out there” in some special other people, but rather is latent “in here”, inside each one of us. To embrace our fullest power, we need to disarm the trauma of the misuse of power.

In Part 2, we attempt to dive deeper in updating the searcher’s journey to the Source, mapping its stages and signposting the traps, as well as the pathways of continuance towards new elevations and integrations with Source. It’s the ever-unfolding journey of our life to fulfill the human promise and realize our noble selves as we spiritualize the Universe.

The Challenging Scenery

What are the challenges and conditions hindering anyone hoping to heed the inner calling and act on the yearning to find the sacred and make contact with a higher source?

  1. The first challenge is to notice and hear this inner voice in the face of a crowding noise and inveigling pressure to fit in and conform to the ways of the world. The persuasive expectations and demands of the prevailing paradigms and values represent distancing and separating vectors from natural intuition and one’s inner essence.
  2. The second challenge compounding the first is the persuasion and pressure to join the race to achieve a visible measure of success — popularity, money, status, fame, power, and more. This persuasion can easily override any subtle impulse to search for something else.
  3. The third difficulty arises with the inadequacy trap produced by items (a) and (b) above, and by mass media and the never-ending comparison to role models, celebrities, and others we place on a pedestal to measure ourselves against and give our power to.
  4. The fourth struggle is the escalation of the inadequacy trap as it compounds with the shortfall syndrome, producing self-doubt, insecurity, anxiety, and mental health issues that often can spiral into addictive and other destructive behaviors.
  5. The fifth compounding factor is the absence of an open and authentic relational and communal ecology where these struggles, confusions, and bewildering feelings accompanying the human experience can be safely processed and metamorphosed.
  6. The sixth problem that often appears includes a variety of destructive modes of escaping from what can be described as a hidden existential and spiritual depression that arises in the absence of engagement with one’s higher potential. This often leads to chasing harmful short-term gratifications, alcohol, drugs, and more, seeking to alleviate pain and the numbness it produces.
  7. The seventh dimension is the energetic depletion, toxic buildup, and trauma produced by the factors above and the fatigue and health issues these bring with diminished immune power, along with loss of buoyancy, resilience and the vitality that are natural for human life.
  8. These are added to by the questions we are afraid to ask, the feelings we are afraid to feel, the loneliness we are afraid to face and embrace, the fear of intimacy, the fear of opening one’s heart, and the fear of the societal reaction if we make a transformative change. With the accumulation of these struggles, the risk is to be captured and paralyzed by these worries.

What is the good news?

Well, the good news is that all the items above can serve as a useful fuel to embark on Journey One – the uphill escape climb, where we begin to seek the path to find a higher source of meaning and purpose.

This planet is a theater of polarities. As discussed in Part 1, for every elevating move there is potentially a shadow created in the process that needs attending. Here in Part 2, we are ready to embrace the completing insight. Every stumbling block can be a stepping-stone, every resistance can become support, every pain and struggle carry the potential fuel for the discovery insight to propel transformational movement.

These eight points of struggle and resistance constitute the scenery in which act-one of the play unfolds, embarking on the uphill Journey One –The Escape.

Journey One – The Escape

A life appears in the human journey. Imagine the newborn carries a unique universal intelligence, showing up as a new human on planet Earth. Almost immediately, depending on the ecology and circumstances of the early upbringing and education, the young life discovers that (a) they are living in a chaotic world, one that has largely gone mad, albeit a normalized form of madness; and (b) that they need to fit into rigid systems and a confusing polarity of the breakdown of these ossified frameworks, with little or no place for natural intuition to guide and serve as a compass.

The confusion and even trauma-inducing experiences are often exacerbated by ill-suited parents, other adults, and an environment that is not oriented to support and accompany the young and their natural growth and discovery. These are some of the conditions that trigger the factors described above. These conditions can ferment in a person through their youth and into adulthood and may build an inner current, experienced as a subtle insistent desire for change.

Variations of the eight factors and the stifling duress they engender can appear in all stages of life, including with well-functioning people, who appear on the outside to be doing well and on a fast train of success. Often people discover a sense of inner emptiness, right at a high point of achievement, just as they received a recognition, an award, and are promoted.

For some it appears with a sense welling up inside that “this” cannot be all there is, that there must be more to life and living. This is the propulsion that activates Journey One — the initial escape and quest to find a bigger purpose, possibility, and meaning in living. The intuition and yearning impulse that the game of life must involve a much bigger prospect are awakened in people in many different ways.

We may be alerted to this impulse semi-consciously as a twelve-year-old, or at sixteen, or in our early twenties, and sometimes into our thirties or forties. We start to feel a growing sense of dissatisfaction and disillusionment and we begin to search for something else. We reflect from outside the context we are in and seek a new perspective. We experiment with new adventures, and we ask harder and deeper questions, beyond the superficial packaged answers. We intuit and feel that there is a bigger cause we are called to serve and a greater truth to find, one that goes beyond the chimera presented as success, money, fame, status, power and gaining likes on social media.

“What is that sense of yearning for more, and how and where I can find it?” we may ask ourselves. And we embark on a journey. It may take the form of a new inquiry, a learning and development pursuit, a spiritual quest, a communal exploration, a religious search, the seeking of a teacher, a guide, a modality, a way, and a search to find a cause to serve; there are many ways to embark on Journey One.

What we are seeking to find, consciously or unconsciously, is a Source to help us open a new way of seeing the world — a perspective that will put into context the confusing and even bewildering experiences of living. We are seeking an elevated viewpoint, a perception that can place what we feel, see, and experience inside a map of meaning that makes sense and empowers us.

To face a chaotic bewildering world and navigate through it with clarity, resilience, and agility, we seek a source of guidance. A source carrying knowledge and vibrant energy; a source opening a liberating path of connection and joy and enabling us to escape into an elevated reality. Traditionally this source took the form of a teacher, a community, and/or a faith.

The dynamics launching what we describe as Journey One, can reappear time and again as we move through our development stages. The whole fractal of The Three Journeys can reemerge in new ways on the development path. The emphasis in the story we are narrating here concerns the first major activation of Journey One.

Once the encounter with the source occurs, as we enter its way, ecology, and presence, we feel uplifted, inspired, and energized, and we experience glimpses of vast possibilities and new freedom. These experiences may emerge in a workshop, a retreat, involvement with a community, and in discovering teachings that open new horizons. The catalyst for the encounter and its initiation can take many other forms, including waking up from a dream, reading a life changing book, an experience in nature, finding a new creative pursuit, meeting with a healer, a priest, a therapist, a storyteller, encountering a community of practice, and more.

We use a variety of words to describe this new birth or rebirth experience. Liberation, inspiration, ecstatic joy, awakening, coming home, connection, healing, uplift, enlightenment, and bliss. These may occur in the context of an Eastern or a Western modality, practice, or faith, or an integration of East and West and any other spiritual, developmental, relational, and communal context.

The encounter with the source awakens in us a sense of profound possibilities. Intuitions, feelings, and capacities that were latent come alive and open expanded awareness and novel perspectives. The encounter and the facing and sometimes the confrontation it brings engenders an elevating state of bliss, resonance, and possibility. The presence of Source and the transcendence experienced in its ecology create a shift. The encroaching gravitational grip of the world outside and of the eight factors described above get suspended, temporarily.

This is Journey One. The escape, the quest, the pilgrimage to find a higher source. Variations of this journey have been taken by people from the beginning of time, before the modern world, in traditional, monastic, and communal settings and in untraditional and adventurous ways.

The modern and then the postmodern world sought to adapt and package new approaches to this journey. Initially it was mostly lineage based. The late 19th century and early 20th century brought new teachers, ways, and paths, at first into the fringe and then into the mainstream. There were always the more esoteric streams in each of the main traditional faiths that presented their attraction through exclusive knowledge, ecstatic prayer, and exotic communal rituals and worship.

Over the last several decades in the New Age and the personal growth space, alternative and novel ways emerged and became increasingly more distributed and situationally customized. These include development workshops, silence retreats, dance festivals, and healing, somatic, and communal experiences, and practices.

The Double Trap

The encounter with a higher source is genuinely transformative. The uplift experienced through psycho-activating knowledge and perspective, and the ecology generated by and around the source, unlock energy potential that’s liberating and elevating for the searcher.

Experiencing this transformational uplift brings us to a crucial junction. There are curious and potent dynamics emerging in and around the encounter with Source and with the phenomenology of the experience. Two dynamics to name here are the identification trap and the intoxication trap. Other critical dynamics belong in a whole other exposition.

The identification trap arises in and through a profound experience or a succession of such experiences with a teacher, a community, an ecology of practice, or a domain that opened possibilities and stirred a deep sense of resonance. We get excited, even mesmerized with the access that’s opening and the capabilities switching on in us, that we fall in love with the experience and identify with it and with the phenomena and natures accompanying it.

We may feel that we’ve made a huge leap, a leap that’s completely transformed everything about us. We might imagine we are now joined to Source or even became a source of possibility and light for others around us. These can be genuine facets of the encounter. The trap arises when we identify with the experience and develop a big head about it. At that point we are no longer inside the expanding discovery and the communion but rather inside our heads telling ourselves stories of self-importance and aggrandizement about the experience.

A broad range of psychological, behavioral, and interpersonal issues and pathologies may arise that would indicate we have yet to build an inner assembly — a character formation and systems and scaffolds that would support and hold a more sophisticated multi-perspectival awareness. An assembly that allows us to be with Source, integrate its subtle energetic release, faculty activation yield, and the ecstatic expanded state, and not develop identity attachment (identification trap) about it.

This leads to the parallel and often accompanying intoxication trap. There is a threefold drunkenness that may arise in the experience, none of which involves consuming alcohol. First, there is the energetic uplift of the potent presence and enhanced atmospherics of Source. The conductive resonance and imbuing power can be mesmerizingly intoxicating.

Second, there is the melting that occurs inside that can bring about a cathartic and healing release. Third, there is the new faculty activation, switched on sensitivity, and the inside-out flow and glow enhancement and possible intoxication. Each of these three facets of the experience are naturally arising inside the luminescence that envelops us in the presence of Source.

This naturally arising experience described here involves no psychedelics. The open secret is that the human brain and bioenergetic fields of resonance can naturally promote and induce enhanced states without any psychedelic involvement. The discovery is that inside the conductive ecology, natural brain and auric processes can become the most advanced pharmacologic lab in the universe, more advanced than any medicinal intake, even when it is not as concentrated.

The intoxication trap, like the identification, is something we all experience at one stage or another and often many times. An experienced seeker will wisely recognize these patterns and work to disarm their pathologies. Instead of suppressing these tendencies, they will be managed in a way that’s not harmful.

The seeker will then recognize that reentering the intoxication trap time and again is a form of a spiritual bypass. It represents attunement that centers on the phenomena that accompany the experience and consumes the well-being, vitality, and enhanced luminescence as a drunken sailor, failing to hold the sustaining developmental value transferred in the encounter with enhanced conductivities and atmospherics.

Instead of using the unlocked energy made available by the uplifting ecology to open broader perceptions and next development steps (Journey Two), intoxication simply wastes the elevation. This is analogous to the person winning the lottery and then burning quickly through the money, only to find themselves even poorer than they were before.

Again, it is natural to be joyous, uplifted, and enthralled in meeting an enlightening Source and there is nothing rebukeable or not natural in celebrating the inspirational uplift. Some degree of intoxication is natural and useful, as it becomes an anesthetizing and melting agent, releasing us from habitual patterns, opening and enabling the expanded consciousness we are experiencing. What is being highlighted here is the danger of falling on the careless harmful side of spiritual intoxication, where we may use high-octane luminous energy in a futile and hollowing way instead of applying it purposefully.

Often, the intoxication and the identification traps show up together, when we are in the afterglow and already departing and distancing from the original encounter with Source. We imagine that we are still inside that blissful expansive union, which is not the case.

Journey Two – The Ensoulment

Journey Two begins with a choice. In Journey One we sought to escape a confusing and bewildering world. The quest then brought us to a place that offered relief and sanity, because it opened our eyes to see what earlier was invisible. Inside this new panorama we found sensemaking maps and practices that empowered us.

Often, we also found friendship, intimacy, and a safe crucible inside of which to grow, develop, regulate, and evolve, with one level of discovery leading to the next and one development stage opening the next, with each elevation enriching us with broader and higher connections and can-do power.

Journey Two begins by recognizing the two traps and their wasteful pathologies and a decision to take responsibility, to avoid these and other traps and instead use the uplift and the elevation to engage in new work. This is a choice that typically would mature when we’ve gone through several cycles of exhilarated intoxication and the internal fall and perception shut down and implosion that followed.

What is the perception shut down syndrome?

A perception shut down occurs when we’ve entered a state of well-being and an expanded awareness but have yet to do the development work to stabilize this new way of being, seeing, doing, and perceiving.

In a practical sense, people often, after distancing and contracting from the experience, may carry its memory almost as a dream or with limited fragments of the multi-dimensionality that opened and became accessible in the presence of the source. In the absence of internal structures and assembly formations that are generative of the properties that are akin to the source, the transformative perception and value largely dissipate and vanish.

An attentive person on the journey, as part of cultivating the inner assembly of sustaining and holding the higher communions and connected states, will deliberately fashion psychospiritual and mental rujums (trail marks). This is done by etching a searing memory in the form of a writing, a prayer, and other devotional, ceremonial, and ritual practices, all designed to foster a tethering connection with the emergent properties of Source and how these presences may grow inside.

The meditative and/or prayerful choice that leads to Journey Two is optimally generated inside the encounter with the source. It then offers a way of being with the source and embarking inside on an individuation journey to embrace the fullness of the human spectrum and its earthly proposition and purpose. This choice is the beginning of Journey Two, “The Ensoulment”.

The Ensoulment

The verb “ensoul” means to be given a soul. The word soul is used here not in a generalized loose sense, but rather in the more specific appreciation of the soul as a standard issue spirit-like planetary orchestrating intelligence, entering the human system together with the spirit (a universal intelligence essence), during the time of what is called the quickening, somewhere between the 16th to 20th week of pregnancy, when the fetus comes alive.

Although we are not talking here about the kind of ensoulment that emerges with the appearance of a new life, the term is used as a metaphor of the function of the soul as an orchestrating loom of intelligence — a planetary operating system for the human.

Imagine in this contemplation the possibility that human life emanates and originates from a source higher than planetary. Thus, when that spiritual intelligence enters a planetary human body, now in development, it needs the mediating intelligence of the soul, a planetary custodian and mediator.

This is what a soul does; it mediates, needing to orchestrate, negotiate, facilitate, and conduct the many processes of being a human on Earth.

If Journey One, metaphorically, was a climb up the mountain, the proposition of Journey Two, The Ensoulment, is to retrace the journey down the mountain, purposefully and in service. We embark on Journey Two while endeavoring to stay connected and preserve the inner actuality activated inside the encounter with Source, an actuality that filled us with inspirational delight and a sacred communion of possibility.

Once we’ve experienced effervescent luminescence in the encounter with Source, the choice to retrace the journey involves embracing a new way of being, and emergent sentiments, reasons, and motivations, all parts of a new operating system. It is a choice that overrides the tendency and desire to stay attached to the enhancement and is the sign of the maturation underway.

The instinctive desire to try to stay attached to the higher presence lead some into monastic life and other modern variations and strategies of semi- or full seclusion. The choice of Journey Two recognizes what you run away from tends to catch up to you, sooner or later. It accepts that there is development and service work to attend to at different elevations and at all levels along the mountain of human development. It appreciates these development efforts are integral to the quest.

Consciously choosing to take on this work is a way of building formations and sustaining scaffolds that enable us to climb up again, to new possible heights on this mountain of transfiguration.

For example, if the initial instinct is to run away from pain, to run away from what scares us, to run away from peril, Journey Two will often introduce reasons to step into embracing pain, accepting peril, and relaxing into fear. This rewiring is part of the ensoulment work.

The development formation given birth to with the choice to overlay and release the identification and the intoxication traps is the process we call ensoulment. It is the choice to no longer escape the planetary turmoil, confusion, pain, and struggle and instead engage in its learning and development potential in service of life.

This is a choice we make more than once, possibly many times, and as we do, we experience the ripening of the ensoulment process.

The Three Paths

Three prime natures characterize Journey Two, and they include a loom of variations and subtleties of how the work of ensoulment can emerge and be expressed. These are not different or separate paths, rather they represent saliencies and leading sentiments, attunements, and configurations.

It is natural to find ourselves in overlapping endeavors, where one effort co-emerges in conjunction with another. It is also natural to embrace the choice of ensoulment within one sentiment and then over time, as the journey matures, to discover that we are led to augment another dimension of the journey.

The primary nature of the first path involves personal development. The central focus of the second path encompasses the discovery of a certain domain or domains. The third path arises with the sentiment of service.


Personal Development Work – The First Path

This first path centers on developing a specific task or capability or skill or quality, or on an effort to embrace an expanding developmental context and space.

The focus of the development work comes into view and is approachable because of the higher elevation and the larger vista that opened for us, and because of the greater conductivity and faculty activation enlivened through the encounter with Source.

Recognition of an opportunity or a need inspires and guides the choice to take up this development work from a place of perception, when we are inside the enhanced conductivity. This personal development is the beginning of the differentiation inside a unitive awareness afforded by the encounter.

For example, using the enhanced faculty perceptiveness afforded to us, we deliberately step back from celebrating the well-being and its intoxicating vitality to examine development opportunities and vulnerabilities. Similarly, we may inquire into what qualities and capacities must be nurtured and brought to life, so that we can be more fully naturalized in the encounter with Source.

A third example is prodding what skills must we develop; what knowhow must we cultivate; and what stamina and mental toughness and agility will make us a better tool for Source to work with and through us.

An important element of this first path includes all aspects of shadow work. In HOMO UNIVERSALIS ACTIVATES: BECOMING A WHOLE PERSON, we’ve delineated more about shadow work, including 11 additional fields of development cultivation.

Each of these and 101 other possible taskings can present themselves as we embark on the personal development path. We can choose to embrace and tailor any number of these spaces and then journey into life and the various roles we get to play with, where being tethered to Source and engaged in the development inquiry lead the way. For example, we can be doing a job in the world, focusing on our parental work, cultivating an important relationship and being internally generative in our development work inside each of these endeavors and roles.

The power in this Ensoulment path is in making a deliberate decision to journey into the challenges of living, to address the development opportunities they create. We may admit to ourselves “I’m not going to be able to stay in the expanded enhanced state afforded to me in the presence of the encounter. Rather than contracting by crashing on my way down, I am consciously choosing to make my way down with a development intent. I’m going to stay tethered to that awareness and to the way it lives in me, as I make my living experience a development laboratory for my connection to Source.”

This first path can take a devotional tone. It can also take playful, relaxing, and high-intensity natures. All variations may become pertinent and applicable. The work may center on acceptance and forgiveness, or the arts of self-regulation and balance, or integrating the polarity of confidence and dignity with openness and humility. A whole book can be written just on the 101 possible development dynamics and ways within this first path.

Domain Discovery and Cultivation Work – The Second Path

In the first path the object of the journey is the study and development of self. This includes all aspects of personal development, nurturing personal qualities, character formation, and virtues work. It also includes all connective and intelligence streams and all capacities and energies, along with stabilizing the emotional centers, nurturing all levels and aspects of resilience and endurance, and building expanded perspectives, and much more.

The focus on the second path complements the inner work of the first path and involves cultivation of any domain we choose to discover and grow into. The opportunities, needs, and propelling motivations and sentiments may include building increasing range, versatility, becoming resourcefully ready, integrating new spaces of expression and media, and following an intuitive exuberance of discovery.

For example, we may choose to cultivate a broad frame of reference in the art and science of process ecologies: what they are, how to know what ecology is needed, how to set and maintain process ecologies, and more.

The range can be astonishingly vast, especially when this second path integrates and enables the third path of service. For example, the deep study of psychology and its accompanying fields, and the study of the economy, how the stock market works, and how to manage money in a stable and safe way such that the energy of money blesses you rather than frightens you. In a similar way there may be a reason to dive deeply into any number of worldly domains, including the law, policies at all levels, international affairs, specific sciences, and more. The key distinction is rather than becoming enrolled as a soldier of a domain solely for career purpose and success, you step into the domain with an external, outside of the domain perspective and context.

For example, we learn about the facilitative arts of conflict mediation and then are free to practice and implement these tools. We discover the practice of strategy formulation and learn about the polarities of strategy implementation, so we can operate in these spaces without being captured by them or by the challenges they present. We are then able to bring unique assets and knowhow back to the source itself, and enable its growth and development, which leads us into the third path.

Service Work – The Third Path

The paths of personal development and of domain discovery and cultivation often lead to the path of service. We naturally want to serve and facilitate a cause we believe in and are energized by, and we discover the honor of serving. We learn that by helping its evolution we grow and develop rapidly. Opportunity theaters, symbiotic reciprocity, training inductions, and more find us on the path of service. These experiences afford us unique initiation, often leading us into a role that’s ahead of our development readiness, thereby dramatically accelerating it. It is the pivot from learn-do to do-learn, and then to do-learn-be.

So we step into facilitation roles, healing and counseling opportunities, leading and coaching spaces, and we find ourselves in these capacities out of the love of wanting the cause, the project, the endeavor, the community to succeed and thrive.

These opportunity theaters and their growing needs syphon us to the service arena most often a step or two ahead of our complete readiness. Like learning to ride a bike, learning to drive a car, and learning anything by doing, the exhilarating discovery and liberation unleash rapid development and growth.

The path of service is the pluripotent initiatory ensoulment journey. It inducts and integrates elements of the other paths in ways that often feel like drinking from the firehose. All true teachers discover that they first teach themselves. Leading and facilitating others squeeze and catalyze us to instruct ourselves in the process. And this path of learning by doing becomes an embassy for Source as it fashions us in our unique ways in its image. It is elating and ecstatic, facing and challenging, and unlocks unimagined leaps and possibilities.

This ensoulment work arises when we embark on a journey of serving other people and a purposeful cause, including facilitating, healing, supporting, counseling, teaching, Sherpa-leading, and other services that summon us to discover the leading edge and devotional frontier inside. This path naturally brings us to experience and metabolize pain, grief, despair, and struggle, often greater than our capacity to hold. At times, the journey breaks us, and right there at the end of our rope, at the edge of despair, it picks us up again. This is the ensoulment process. It unlocks glory in a place that no one wants.

For example, the service path may promote capacities we never imagined are latent inside. We discover a special care for a person, a situation, a cause. We source compassion, patience, strength, pain tolerance, resilience, and love we never knew we were capable of. We find stamina, courage, passion, and attention for details when no one is witnessing, purely for the love of caring for the situation and the cause at focus.

In Journey One, the Escape, we sought refuge from a bewildering world. In Journey Two, The Ensoulment, we retrace the path back into the point of pain, struggle, and need, accompanied by an extra property and enhancement. And we come into the opportunity theater in a functional capacity, in a purposeful service.

In the ensoulment journey is the path of valiance. We give life to what we choose to support because of our sense of honor and the love of humanity, the environment, the people in need, next generation, the future, whatever we feel called to respond to and serve.

And this Ensoulment process naturally leads us to the Third Journey, the Spiritualization.

The Third Journey – The Spiritualization

The journey of Spiritualization arises inside the ensoulment work. As we strive to meet the inherent demands in supporting and leading others, these needs cause us to reflect on why we feel called, and the purpose that guides us, which then brings us to return to the communion with Source.

We are not the same, though, as we were in the initial encounter. We are no longer escaping the world. Instead, as we seek to help and serve by metabolizing, transforming, and transmogrifying the struggles, pains, and needs we encounter. These efforts evoke and engender in us a new quality of engagement with the invisible Source that inspired us, allowing that higher communion to do its work through us, as its agency and embassy.

This dedicated transmutation effort summons and syphons the cause to work through us, through our intentions, prayers, actions, and leadership efforts. This intentional endeavor is The Third Journey, The Spiritualization.

As in the case of the soul described above, so is the case with the spirit, a universal intelligence that quickens the fetus to become its animating essence in the process of becoming human.

The Spiritualization journey is the process whereby we are quickened for the second time, not automatically as in the case of the fetus in the womb, but consciously, intentionally, as our devotional and dedicated efforts become a womb for a higher purpose and communion that finds us.

The cause, purpose, source, essence that adopts us to work through the agency and embassy we become for it spiritualizes our work and effort. This is the invisible side of the priest function.

In the traditional and the ancient world, the priest was part of the hierarchy and often assisted people, while also being a barrier between people and a higher presence. In the postmodern, metamodern, emerging evolution and integration, the priest function too gets proliferated and distributed. The object of the priest’s work in this sense is the facilitative guidance to awaken the noble nature latent in people, including the budding priestly essence as it potentiates in others.

Journeying up the mountain to return to Source, in service, is no longer fueled by our initial desperation. Instead, we show up as companioning to Source, offering the witnessing value and experience of the human condition and its struggle. In this joining reciprocity with the Invisible Source, we fulfill the human promise to ascend, transcend, integrate, and spiritualize the universe by becoming conscious participants of who we truly are as Homo Universalis.

In Journey One, we are a human seeking spiritual experience. In Journey Two we ensoul ourselves with new agreements to embrace the totality of the human deal — the beautiful, the painful, and all the range in between, all in service of a redemptive human update.

In Journey Three we are no longer the human seeking spiritual experience. We recognize that we are a spiritual being having chosen to embrace the human experience, working to bring to the spirit realm expanded awareness and consciousness. We can think of Journey Two and Journey Three as a double helix that occurs all the time, rather than separate moves.

In this threefold journey, the process of Ensoulment is vital. It is the journey of increasing our capacity to integrate and hold the polarizing contradictions of life. Moreover, we learn to embrace the greater contradiction in living, which is that we are a spiritual being inside the human experience, a translucent luminescent glowing intelligence inside a physical, biological, carnal world, all as part of the evolution of life and the universe.

This is an inherent paradox by design. There is a permission in this carnal level of process to crystalize something and then dissolve it; crystalize, and dissolve, and on and on. Every time the heat is greater in the Ensoulment journey, whatever we thought we have accomplished and crystalized melts away and is dissolved again. Then, we need to pick ourselves up and travel deeper inside, to find Source inside, to integrate an even higher crystallization that can withstand the increasing heat that’s generated in our service work and experience.

This fortification and growth of our bandwidth to transcend polarities can happen through all the ensoulment paths, as we serve this universal calling through all the many expressions of helping, facilitating, nursing, healing, encouraging, coaching, and leading. It’s where the warrior, the wounded healer, the priest, and the lover archetypes integrate into a kaleidoscopic intelligence of 1000 faces, each of which becomes conductively alive in the presence of a need.

In this ever-evolving, frequently reemerging living embodiment of The Three Journeys lies the open secret and promise of becoming human.

Kyriaki Nikandrou

Kyriaki Nikandrou

When I was a child, staring at the starry night skies, I was filled with awe and wonder, about the mysteries of the Universe, Life, Time, the Human and its place in the Cosmos, trying to connect the dots that link everything with everything…

Some years down the line, I still do. I am seeking to be in conversation with others in search for keys, for tools of understanding and application and for the real questions, the ones that become portals to contemplative journeys, leading to uncharted territories that feel like home.

I believe we are on a trajectory of multiple and unpredictable changes; it is up to each one of us to rise to the challenge of our times. Now, more than ever before, is the time to be true to ourselves and fulfill our potential.

Aviv Shahar

Aviv Shahar

Aviv is the Founder of Aviv Consulting, helping leaders unleash strategic innovation, and is the author of Create New Futures: How Leaders Produce Breakthroughs and Transform the World Through Conversation.